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My kids are in ketosis and now I'm freaked out! (a little)

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Updated May 27, 2014 at 2:01 AM
Created March 29, 2014 at 1:50 AM

I have 6 year old boy/girl twins. I started them on a Paleo diet plan (not DIET though, more "nutritional," I hope) last week. I made TONS of yummy snacks from the PaleoParents' ebook and How to Eat Like a Dinosaur. I was thrilled that they didn't complain about much of what I fed them! They had "high octane" carbs on Thursday for lunch, but nothing else otherwise.

Yesterday they started with the loose stools and today as well. I checked with Ketostix and sho-enuf, they're both in ketosis. I was so surprised by how fast and "painless" it was for them but I surely don't think I want them living there!

Neither is overweight. Both are active on a normal level. Not super athletes but not super sedentary. My "plan" is to make sure to add as much banana, sweet potato, or high starch/carb things into their menu (they don't care for those things plain yet but plenty of recipes, like waffles, call for them and they eat 'em) and don't deny any hunger pangs. Is that about all I should be concerned with? I am not really wanting to provide the grains if I can keep from it so they don't get "addicted," unless they wind up with chronic ketosis!

Thoughts?

UPDATE: I've added white and sweet potatoes and peas (which they do like!) and we're doing much better here. No keto.

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0 · May 27, 2014 at 2:01 AM

On another note even though the goals seems to have been achieved, if the Ketostix were on the low end, realize that we're all for the most part creating some ketones, and there are several factors that affect the coloration on the strips. Hydration level is one for example that can skew the results. If you ever have a concern about the true levels, look into a blood meter such as the Nova Max. If it's under .3 mmol/L and especially after a number of hours without a meal, that's not quite ketosis and is super normal, yet the strips may show ketosis.

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0 · May 27, 2014 at 1:53 AM

Hmm, eating a paleo diet leads to ketosis. That's sometimes what happens naturally on a proper paleo diet. Of course anyone can choose what they like, so I'm commenting more for the community in general. Consider why we choose paleo to begin with; why fight what's natural? It seems many hunter gathers were often in ketosis, and the research of Dr. Cordain and others on the macros of the diets indicates that was the case for at least some tribes, especially those closer to the poles. Fighting nature is what got us into trouble in the first place with SAD and the very reason we go paleo.

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5 · April 05, 2014 at 2:00 PM

I got attacked when I asked a kid paleo question too...ppl on here don't know how to help without being nasty

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11478 · April 03, 2014 at 6:22 AM

Not sure that's true. Ketostix sometimes show false negatives, but I've never heard of false positives. You have to have very high blood ketones before you start pissing them out.

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11478 · April 03, 2014 at 6:20 AM

I'm not sure anyone knows what causes diabetes, but for sure once you've caught it, then eating carbohydrates is not a good idea. A good definition of diabetes would be "chronic carbohydrate intolerance".

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41312 · March 29, 2014 at 11:17 PM

I'm with ya - as long as normal food doesn't displace healthy food and kids are active (#1 importance!) then I don't know why one should be so anal about diet.

E32abdc9a483de43def522faf81ed4e9
0 · March 29, 2014 at 10:50 PM

I think we all agree that kids shouldn't be on keto. I think most of us agree that grains are still not ideal (at any age--or are there arguments for that?) In that light then, can we have plenty of suggestions for foods for kids to keep carb levels up? and kids out of keto? In my case they don't like beans and rice, nor do they like bananas peeled. I plan to cook bananas into things, bake french fries with olive oil(unless people think that's not great?) Please hand me practical suggestions for foods. We all want the same thing here, I hope!

E32abdc9a483de43def522faf81ed4e9
0 · March 29, 2014 at 10:44 PM

Low cal diets of any kind are bad for any child.They shouldn't be deprived cals if I'm aware the pitfalls w/ low-grain.Message boards are highly impersonal,it's easy to assume I'm a zealous mother w/ tunnel vision.Wish you could know it isn't the case! I've checked & explored publicly which should send a signal that I'm smart enough to know what I don't know.I'm going to tinker & see what can be done to adjust things.They don't like beans or rice--my first choices over bread.If it's a choice btwn stuck in keto or adding some whole grains to their menu then I would chose the latter.

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1005 · March 29, 2014 at 7:37 PM

Where have Paleo ketogenic diets been shown to stunt healthy children's growth?

The main ones I've seen look like this:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12455855

"The caloric intake is usually limited to about 75%" "It does not evaluate the relation between growth/nutrition and ketosis itself nor the nutritional content of these children's diets." "Also, children with neurological dysfunction may grow poorly independent of nutrition."

E32abdc9a483de43def522faf81ed4e9
0 · March 29, 2014 at 7:25 PM

Once again, I have no intention of having them in ketosis for even a day if I can avoid it. Grain free, yes.

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26017 · March 29, 2014 at 7:11 PM

Understand that ketogenic diets have shown to stunt children's growth. Also you may want to read up on IGF

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583 · March 29, 2014 at 6:28 PM

I wouldn't freak out if your kids dip into ketosis now and then. There are some notable health benefits that I don't think kids are excluded from. As long as they get enough carbs most days it's fine. Just don't yo-yo them over to a high-carb diet due to fear of ketosis.

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583 · March 29, 2014 at 6:24 PM

I have to disagree about the last part. You should NOT "just let them be kids" because in America that naturally includes things like PB&J sandwiches, granola bars, pizza, chips, fried chicken, and a heaping load of omega 6 each day. A good clean kid-friendly paleo diet is better.

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1005 · March 29, 2014 at 6:12 PM

French fries? They gotta love french fries.

If you get some beef tallow, you can cook them up just like McDonalds used to, before they switched to vegetable oils.

Do they like spaghetti? You can tomato sauce / meatball up some squash / eggplant pretty well. I can't really taste the difference between eggplant parm and chicken parm.

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0 · March 29, 2014 at 2:42 PM

I clicked the links but I'm not exactly sure of the implications--are you suggesting to keep pushing tart flavors even though their tastes will be less inclined toward them because of Paleo?

E32abdc9a483de43def522faf81ed4e9
0 · March 29, 2014 at 2:22 PM

I truly was not trying to withhold carbs. I definitely withheld bread and pasta. Banana and potatoes are not a favorite for them and that might be the problem. But a lot of the "pastries" in paleo cooking have fruits galore so I will def. focus on those more! It was only a week so no harm done. That's why I'm glad I checked as soon as I did. :-)

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1005 · March 29, 2014 at 4:48 AM

As these children age, it's common for tastes to change down at the genetic level.

http://www.snpedia.com/index.php/Rs713598

http://www.snpedia.com/index.php/Gs227

I'm not sure how you would work around that, other than letting them know they'll eventually taste better and that they are good for their health. Once they're not eating much candy / sweets / juices / artificial flavors, fresh fruit should start looking more attractive.

You could play with hot cooked fruits with some cinnamon on top to switch it up. Yogurt isn't a bad source of kid-friendly carbs.

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1005 · March 29, 2014 at 4:44 AM

(On the other hand, I have heard interesting ideas of a ketogenic diet for young elite competitive athletes or those with certain diseases.) Often, the research makes it look like they're going to get kidney stones and suffer from growth retardation and such, but when you look at what they're being fed, it looks like this, where it's obvious they were malnourished and running on strange processed foods.

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1005 · March 29, 2014 at 4:38 AM

I wish there was a good way to pull off pancakes / waffles.

Recently, I've heard about "banana flour" which seems like it could work.

Usually, it looks like a bunch of ground nuts with phytates / omega 6 (against little omega 3) covered in sugar for a nice insulin spike first thing in the morning. I tend to look at snacks as a distraction against level blood sugar / lipid metabolism / appetite which compete against larger more nutritious meals.

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1005 · March 29, 2014 at 4:35 AM

Ah, my bad. Good call.

It should be pretty easy to avoid ketosis with a diet including fruits / vegetables eaten to satiety. Most meals are going to come in around 20-40g of carb even when you do your best to avoid carbs, where just a couple bananas or starches has you up around 100g and running on carbs.

They would only have hit ketosis if they specifically weren't being fed carbohydrates / starches / fruits.

Waffles / snacks are a good treat, but you're probably better off more frequently with more the banana/sweet potatoes type foods as you had suggested.

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0 · March 29, 2014 at 3:44 AM

When you say "whole food" are you talking fruits and veggies or grains? I definitely wasn't trying to "low carb" them, but as you can see from my other comments they don't like the fruits and veggies much.

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0 · March 29, 2014 at 3:09 AM

I guess the fact they don't like fruits and veggies much makes it hard. I am a "verbal" processor so having the shock of ketotic children put me into "community" mode--forgetting the onslaught I might bring on! When I say "pancakes, waffles, snacks" I mean Paleo versions, which include fruits. That would bring up the carb levels. I've been using the recipes of The Paleo Parents, Paleo Mom & Nom Nom Paleo. Finding my kids in ketosis after just one week was a huge surprise. So maybe I should ask the question: what do you all think of those parents? Too much paleo?

E32abdc9a483de43def522faf81ed4e9
0 · March 29, 2014 at 2:40 AM

I'm glad someone understood! I hope you are right and I think if I monitor their ketone level (and keep it at a negative result) then I can get this well managed.

A6b302171ad297933107ec7e6abadf39
15 · March 29, 2014 at 2:36 AM

Give them carbs, it is pretty basic, I think you already know that. Which is why the question is hard to understand.

E32abdc9a483de43def522faf81ed4e9
0 · March 29, 2014 at 2:32 AM

I think you may have misunderstood--in no way do I want my children to be ketotic.

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6498694060d879a7960b35913539b75f
0
1307 · March 29, 2014 at 2:35 AM

I think your plan is good. Give them more fruits and starches and they will come out of ketosis.

E32abdc9a483de43def522faf81ed4e9
0 · March 29, 2014 at 2:40 AM

I'm glad someone understood! I hope you are right and I think if I monitor their ketone level (and keep it at a negative result) then I can get this well managed.

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0 · March 29, 2014 at 3:47 AM

I think I've got sufficient info and feedback--keep pumping the carbs somehow! Thank you all.

E32abdc9a483de43def522faf81ed4e9
0 · March 29, 2014 at 10:44 PM

Low cal diets of any kind are bad for any child.They shouldn't be deprived cals if I'm aware the pitfalls w/ low-grain.Message boards are highly impersonal,it's easy to assume I'm a zealous mother w/ tunnel vision.Wish you could know it isn't the case! I've checked & explored publicly which should send a signal that I'm smart enough to know what I don't know.I'm going to tinker & see what can be done to adjust things.They don't like beans or rice--my first choices over bread.If it's a choice btwn stuck in keto or adding some whole grains to their menu then I would chose the latter.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7
26017 · March 29, 2014 at 7:11 PM

Understand that ketogenic diets have shown to stunt children's growth. Also you may want to read up on IGF

Thumbnail avatar
583 · March 29, 2014 at 6:28 PM

I wouldn't freak out if your kids dip into ketosis now and then. There are some notable health benefits that I don't think kids are excluded from. As long as they get enough carbs most days it's fine. Just don't yo-yo them over to a high-carb diet due to fear of ketosis.

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519 · March 29, 2014 at 3:40 AM

Ketostix are quite inaccurate and the method of using urine strips has been debunked by many people. So I wouldn't put much faith in what you're seeing.

Kids have greater carb needs than adults. High-carb is not necessarily a problem, especially if they're coming from whole food starches.

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11478 · April 03, 2014 at 6:22 AM

Not sure that's true. Ketostix sometimes show false negatives, but I've never heard of false positives. You have to have very high blood ketones before you start pissing them out.

E32abdc9a483de43def522faf81ed4e9
0 · March 29, 2014 at 3:44 AM

When you say "whole food" are you talking fruits and veggies or grains? I definitely wasn't trying to "low carb" them, but as you can see from my other comments they don't like the fruits and veggies much.

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0 · March 29, 2014 at 2:34 AM

I need to make sure everyone understand I do not *want* my children to be ketotic. I DO want them to get off processed grains. I don't think I indicated that I thought it was good for them to be ketotic. I did say I was glad they didn't have melt downs without the grains. All I was asking for was advice on how to keep them from being ketotic while keeping them off grains. I'll check out the link on Mark's Daily Apple. Thanks.

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15 · March 29, 2014 at 2:36 AM

Give them carbs, it is pretty basic, I think you already know that. Which is why the question is hard to understand.

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1005 · March 29, 2014 at 2:02 AM

Hmm.. Ketogenic children? Eating lots of banana / starches / waffles.. what? Haha.

Aren't you not even a couple weeks into paleo, and not even keto-adapted yourself?

I found it took at least a year to get the Paleo thing down, and it might take just as long to figure out how to make that work in a keto setting. Then.. the research for children just isn't there yet.

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1005 · March 29, 2014 at 2:02 AM

Hmm.. Ketogenic children? Eating lots of banana / starches / waffles.. snacks.. what? Haha.

Aren't you not even a couple weeks into paleo, and not even keto-adapted yourself?

I found it took at least a year to get the Paleo thing down, and it might take just as long to figure out how to make that work in a keto setting. Then.. the research for children in nutritional ketosis just isn't there yet.

I think this would be a better situation for them:

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/what-did-our-ancient-ancestors-actually-eat

E32abdc9a483de43def522faf81ed4e9
0 · March 29, 2014 at 2:32 AM

I think you may have misunderstood--in no way do I want my children to be ketotic.

A6b302171ad297933107ec7e6abadf39
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15 · March 29, 2014 at 1:54 AM

Please give your kids lots of good carbs and fish and meat and an abundance of great food.

There are some absolutely off the deep end crazy people in the paleo community who use carbohydrate as a bogeyman and an excuse for why they were fat/diabetic/unhealthy, but the truth is they overate and thats why they are now messed up.

Children should not be in ketosis, they should have lots of carbs and lots of healthy varied whole foods. Also putting kids on an eating protocol screams of setting them up for eating disorders in later life. Why not just let them be kids?

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11478 · April 03, 2014 at 6:20 AM

I'm not sure anyone knows what causes diabetes, but for sure once you've caught it, then eating carbohydrates is not a good idea. A good definition of diabetes would be "chronic carbohydrate intolerance".

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41312 · March 29, 2014 at 11:17 PM

I'm with ya - as long as normal food doesn't displace healthy food and kids are active (#1 importance!) then I don't know why one should be so anal about diet.

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583 · March 29, 2014 at 6:24 PM

I have to disagree about the last part. You should NOT "just let them be kids" because in America that naturally includes things like PB&J sandwiches, granola bars, pizza, chips, fried chicken, and a heaping load of omega 6 each day. A good clean kid-friendly paleo diet is better.

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